I was in Beijing last week when news broke of a series of lead poisoning outbreaks in China, followed closely by a Human Right Watch report on China’s response to its toxic lead problem. (Here are links to the New York Times, AP/Time, Reuters, BBC, Financial Times stories)
Over the past few years, China has seen increasing coverage of its pollution problems as the government has begun to acknowledge the issue.
In such a big country with such a frantic pace of industrial activity, it is understandable that change is sometimes slow. But based on Blacksmith’s work in China over the past decade, we believe that the local authorities are serious about cleaning up pollution and stemming the public health crisis.
We are therefore continuing to work collaboratively with the government in China, as we have done in Senegal, Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and other countries around the world with similar lead poisoning outbreaks.
While the news often showcases the negative side of China’s pollution problem, it also highlights the growing efforts of those working inside and outside the country to eradicate the legacy of cover-ups and embrace a new attitude that will ultimately solve pollution problems and save lives. In cases like these, perhaps it is true that there is no such thing as bad publicity.